School kitchens make mincemeat of paperwork with Android App

After the successful rollout of Google Chrome devices, a London Borough approached Ancoris to help with a computerised system for kitchen staff to log data. The introduction of Android tablets with a personalised App dramatically decreased the time kitchen staff spent on paperwork and allowed area managers to become more effective.

Dinner ladies in kitchen

About the customer

The London Borough is a local council for an area of London serving a community of around 180,000 residents and providing meals to pupils in 60 of the borough’s primary, secondary and special schools kitchens.

We were already working with Ancoris on another project. When Ancoris showed us Google Forms, we immediately saw we could create a better solution for a similar initial cost, but with very little ongoing revenue costs after that.

Project Manager for Access and SmartcardsLondon Borough

Then

  • Each kitchen manager had to fill out numerous forms. These covered key management information such as stock control and essential compliance data – recording regular temperature checks on freezers and ovens, for example.
  • Kitchen managers were either spending time on paperwork rather than providing meals to children, were doing paperwork in their own time or weren’t doing some of it at all.
  • Catering service area managers were spending a lot of time collecting, collating and filing the forms for the schools they manage. However, they found it hard to analyse this paper-based data, identify issues and take quick action.
  • The council had already computerised its “front of house” operations with a cashless catering system. Tackling the kitchen paperwork was the next logical step.

Now

  • Ancoris developed a suite of Google Forms and the interface for the bespoke app, which uses simple colour-coding to help guide users to the right form.
  • The Android tablets deployed to collect the data are both simple and portable.  Kitchen managers embraced the new system because much of the data can now be recorded ‘on the spot’, removing the need for further admin.
  • The tablets have been locked down so that users are always presented with a launch screen whenever they switch the tablet on.
  • Data entered into the app is automatically collated in Google Sheets and shared with the relevant stakeholders.  Area managers can easily pull up specific spreadsheets to review the current status of each school, and extract subsets of data for further analysis and action.